Geolinguistics in the 21st Century: Baruch Conference Spotlights Japanese, Georgian, and Arabic

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Photo - Wayne Finke is the editor of the Journal of Geolinguistics

Professor Wayne Finke, editor of the Journal of Geolinguistics, organizes the annnual conference on language, culture, and politics.

-- Photo by Jerry Speier.

New York, NY - Sept. 22, 2008 - Scholars from universities in Japan, Georgia, Nepal, Switzerland, Italy, and the United States will meet at Baruch College on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26-27, to consider political and cultural factors influencing languages and their dissemination around the globe.

Organized by Wayne Finke, editor of the Journal of Geolinguistics and professor of modern languages and comparative literature at Baruch, the conference will consider issues such as the political control of language and the impact of rapid modernization on language content and usage. The Friday sessions take place in Baruch College's Newman Vertical Campus, 55 Lexington Avenue at 24th Street, Room 14-270. Saturday sessions will be held in room 6-280 of the same building.

Topics for this unusual event range from "The Current State of Egyptian Colloquial Arabic," to "The Latins Are Coming, the Latins Are Coming: Defending Cyrillic in Russia," to a consideration of how languages are treated in recent films (Cold Fever and Lost in Translation). Tinatin Bolkvadze, a scholar from Tbilisi State University, will present a timely talk on "Languages of Modern Georgia."

The keynote address by Hikaru Kitabayashi (Daito Bunka University, Tokyo), will be delivered on Saturday, Sept. 27, at 11 am and is titled "Changing Perceptions of the Native Speaker in Japanese Academia: A Personal Odyssey." Professor Kitabayashi is an American who has lived and taught in Japan for 30 years.

This event is being presented under the auspices of the American Society for Geolinguistics, founded in 1965 by the noted linguist and polyglot Mario A. Pei, a professor of romance philology at Columbia University. The society's chief aim is to make linguistics accessible to the educated non-specialist and to disseminate up-to-date knowledge concerning the world’s present-day languages.

The event is open to all Baruch and CUNY students and faculty interested in languages and linguistics.

Zane Berzins
News Director
646.660.6113